CEDAR FALLS, Iowa - The University of Northern Iowa defeated SIUE 68-47 in men's basketball Sunday afternoon at the McLeod Center.
The game was the second, for both teams, in the Las Vegas Classic presented by IBN Sports. The win extended the nation's sixth-longest home-court winning streak to 21 games for Northern Iowa, 7-3. SIUE dropped to 2-11 with the loss. UNI has won both of its games in the tournament, while the Cougars dropped both of their games.
The Cougars and Panthers traded baskets and the lead for the first six-plus minutes of the game. A Zeke Schneider tip-in evened the score at 10 with 13:55 to play before halftime. UNI then used a 21-3 run midway through the half to turn the tie game into a 31-13 lead.
"We settled for some shots in the first half," SIUE Head Coach Lennox Forrester said. "We took some quick jump shots that helped them on that run."
The Panthers led 36-23 at the break.
SIUE came out quickly to start the second half, scoring the first 5 points of the half, to cut the UNI lead to eight at 36-28. That was as close as the Cougars would get the rest of the way.
SIUE cut the Panthers' lead to 12 twice during the half. A Kevin Stineman free throw with 4:02 to play capped an 8-0 Cougar run and made it 56-44. The Panthers extended the lead back to 15 before the Cougars again cut it to 12 (59-47) with 2:43 to go.
"I thought in certain spurts we battled," Forrester said. "But I give credit to UNI. They are a very good defensive team."
SIUE shot just 34.9 percent (15-43) from the field. The 15 made field goals were a season-low, after making just 17 Friday at Indiana. Northern Iowa also took advantage of Cougar miscues, turning 18 SIUE turnovers into 24 points.
The Panthers out-rebounded the Cougars 39-20 for the afternoon.
"We certainly did not do a very good job on the boards," Forrester added.
Corey Wickware led the Cougars with 13 points. He was 4 of 9 from the field, including 3 of 6 from beyond the three-point arc. Nikola Bundalo scored 10 for the Cougars. He was just 3 of 5 from the floor, but 4 for 4 from the free throw line. Stineman and Cody Rincker each scored six.
Northern Iowa was led by Lucas O'Rear and Anthony James, who each scored 12 points.
Both teams, along with Indiana, Colorado, New Mexico , South Carolina State, The Citadel, and Longwood will travel to Las Vegas, Nev. to complete the tournament Wednesday and Thursday.
SIUE faces Longwood Wednesday beginning at 1:30 p.m. CT. Live video of the game will be available online at IBNSports.com.